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Outdoor Workout Gear

Q | What should I wear for an outdoor workout when it’s cold? Is it better to over or underdress at the start? 

A | Since your body temperature rises during vigorous exercise, common advice dictates dressing as if it’s 20 degrees F warmer outside, says Anne Pezalla, an RRCA running coach in Oak Park, Ill.

Everyone is different, though, and “you sometimes have to learn from your mistakes to see what works for you,” she says.

For outdoor winter workouts, Pezalla says, it’s better to wear too much at first and be a little warm than to wear too little and be uncomfortably cold. She recommends dressing in layers that you can adjust as you start warming up, such as a jacket with removable sleeves, arm warmers that you can pull down, or a headband that can be folded to cover or uncover your ears.

It’s also important to choose fabrics that wick away moisture. In cold weather, this means wearing a base layer of wicking fabric that fits close to your skin. Socks made from natural fibers such as wool or mohair will not only keep your feet warm, but they’ll also keep them dry and prevent blisters. Avoid cotton, since it traps moisture when you sweat, causing your body to lose heat faster.

This article originally appeared as part of “Expert Answers” in the December 2015 issue of Experience Life. To order a back issue, call 800-897-4056 (press option 3 when prompted). To get all the articles from each issue of Experience Life, subscribe online at

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